“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

Get ready to get AVENGEMENTed

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

I must be moving up in the world because I actually got sent a press release about Samuel Goldwyn Films acquiring U.S. rights to “THE ACTION-PACKED FILM ‘AVENGEMENT’ STARRING SCOTT ADKINS.”

The important new information is that it will be released digitally on May 24th. It also says it’ll be in theaters that day, but I don’t know how many of our cities will benefit from that.

The other thing that most impressed me is that Adkins’ character is named CAIN BURGESS. Obviously we were all hoping for John Avengement, but the genre can definitely use more Cains and Kanes. We’ll see if Cain Burgess becomes the next Yuri Boyka.

AVENGEMENT is directed by Jesse V. Johnson, who I have noted is on an incredible role with SAVAGE DOG, ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR and TRIPLE THREAT all in a row. He first directed Adkins way back in 2005’s PIT FIGHTER. The screenplay is by Johnson and Stu Smalls, which bodes well – Johnson wrote the excellent DEBT COLLECTOR, and Smalls is Adkins’ life long friend who co-wrote ACCIDENT MAN and has helped mold his dialogue for other scripts.

Here’s the official plot summary:

“While released on furlough from prison, a lowly criminal evades his guards and returns to his old haunts to take revenge on the people that made him a cold-hearted killer. It’s an epic, bloody battle to search for the soul he lost years ago on the streets of an unforgiving city.”

Johnson’s description of the character and story are intriguing. He calls Cain Burgess “both frightening and sympathetic” and “A man who has tempered his pain and rejection into a carbon steel tool for revenge.” And he claims that said revenge is “a satisfyingly baroque, almost elegant retribution.”

So we’ll find out what that’s all about in a few months, but we only have to wait until next week to see the latest from Johnson and Adkins (as the villain), TRIPLE THREAT. I’ll have a review of that for you tomorrow morning after the embargo lifts.

Ranking the Live Action Comic Book Movies of the ’90s

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

I have an extensive new piece over on Polygon where I rank and discuss all* of the live action comic book or comic strip based theatrical or DTV movies of the 1990s. I know it’s weird for me to be writing on a video game sight, but did you know that I’m actually pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man? You might be surprised.

This was fun because I didn’t really realize until I compiled a list how familiar I am with the topic. I’d seen almost everything that qualified, although I had to fill in a few holes and rewatch several that I hadn’t seen in decades (some of which I’ll be reviewing soon). I have my memories of what I thought of the movies at the time and it’s interesting to look at them all as one movement and consider how different they seem now that they’re artifacts of a bygone era.

Please don’t take the rankings too seriously. I’m already questioning why I didn’t move certain things around. For example, I know I put SPAWN up too high, trying to give it credit for notoriety. Hopefully my write-ups show a joy for what’s unique about this genre even in the lesser ones. Judging from the comments, my low ranking and lumping together of the three TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movies is the most controversial choice. I didn’t see that coming, and I think it’s a generational difference – I’m just too old to understand why it’s so fucking hilarious that they love pizza. I’m more of a cats eating lasagna guy. But apologies for the blasphemy.

I wanted to mention here, since it didn’t really fit in the article, that looking at them all together made me realize one particular artist’s contribution to this genre. That person is not Danny Elfman, because I’d noticed he scored DICK TRACY, BATMAN RETURNS and MEN IN BLACK, plus the theme for The Flash on television, so I already associated him with comic book movies of that era. No, my new realization was that Nils Allen Stewart, guy who played Jesse Ventura in a TV movie and veteran action henchman with the weird hairdo in the ON DEADLY GROUND bar fight, appears in THE MASK, THE SHADOW, FIST OF THE NORTH STAR and BARB WIRE. Not bad.

Anyway, PLEASE ENJOY THE ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE and let me know what you think.

*Zack Clopton on Twitter pointed out that I fucked up – I missed PRINCE VALIANT (1997). Damn it.

Pre-Oscar thoughts 2019

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

Okay, time for my traditional pre-Oscars post. As you have probly gathered by now, I enjoy watching awards shows, I do not think they are too long, I do understand that they don’t represent the best of cinema, and that it doesn’t really matter that much, and I’m not offended if you don’t care about the Oscars. It’s fine, we all do what we want to do. And here’s my piece about my favorite movies of 2018, which only slightly overlap with the things that were nominated.

For those who are interested though I wanted to gather links of my reviews to the nominated movies along with who I’m rooting for in some (not all) of the categories and some other related thoughts. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw trailer

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Gotta love a title with a presenter and two ampersands. Remember, this is from David Leitch, co-director of JOHN WICK, director of ATOMIC BLONDE and DEADPOOL 2, stunt double of Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves. I still hope they make up some preposterous backstory where Shaw didn’t actually kill Han, but was forced to fake-kill him for Charlize Theron or some shit, so we don’t have to feel guilty for liking him. (That might have to be in FURI9US.)

The Outlawvern.com 2018 Review Revue

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Well, there it is. Another crazy, what-the-fuck-is-happening-to-us year has gone by. As you know if you’ve been reading regularly I lost my mom in the fall, and it would’ve been a rough one for me even if I didn’t feel like the world was running around with spiders in its pants stepping on mouse traps. So even more than usual it has been a refuge, a joy and an honor to be able to keep writing about movies and everything they mean to us, sharing my thoughts and discoveries with all of you and continuing the discussion here in the comments, on Twitter, in emails, and even on a couple podcasts. I’m so grateful for what we have here. Thank you.

As usual I saw more movies than most normal people but fewer than professional critics, so it’s hard for me to do a top ten list. I know I haven’t seen newer movies like IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, DESTROYER or THE FAVOURITE, and haven’t gotten to many that are available like FIRST REFORMED, LEAVE NO TRACE, THE RIDER or BUSTER SCRUGGS. Not to mention the ones I don’t even know I should’ve seen. So instead of a formal list I’ll talk about some of my favorites in different categories. Before that, let’s look back at some of the reviews I enjoyed writing most this year. Since I’ve determined that about 60% of the movies I wrote about this year were not new, this will include discoveries and revisits. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Shape of Evil: confronting darkness through the ‘Halloween’ series

Friday, October 26th, 2018

A new publication called Drugstore Culture recruited me to write some stuff for them, so over the past month or so I rewatched the entire HALLOWEEN series (including the two Rob Zombie ones) and wrote about it as a whole.

This is pretty different from my usual approach. I tried to dig non-judgmentally into the symbols of each chapter (even RESURRECTION!) to find deeper meaning we can apply to our current world or to things I’ve been going through in my life. I was surprised how much I found in III and 6, actually. It’s kind of a weird piece I think but perhaps obsessive in an unusual way, and hopefully some of you will like it.

By the way, I filed this before seeing the new one, so the bad news is I should’ve added a few lines about it, the good news is there are no spoilers for that particular one. Just ten other movies.

READ “THE SHAPE OF EVIL: CONFRONTING DARKNESS THROUGH THE ‘HALLOWEEN’ SERIES” ON DRUG STORE CULTURE

 

Summer of ’98: The Thrilling Conclusion

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Usually my idea of a good movie summer is one with a bunch of really high quality big budget action/sci-fi type movies. Popular entertainment that we can get excited about and enjoy together and talk about as a collective cultural experience – summer blockbusters, popcorn movies, the sons of JAWS. For example a famously great movie summer was 1982, which gave us CONAN THE BARBARIAN, ROCKY III, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK II, E.T., BLADE RUNNER and THE THING, among others. Or what about 1990, which gave us TOTAL RECALL, DICK TRACY, GREMLINS 2, DIE HARD 2, DARKMAN and THE WITCHES. There have been some good ones before.

1998 wasn’t really one of those good ones. Two of the big event movies, GODZILLA and LOST IN SPACE, were widely hated garbage. Another one, ARMAGEDDON, is highly influential garbage. Its rival space debris epic, DEEP IMPACT, is kinda dull. Most people despised THE AVENGERS. Even in the animation category it’s a shitty summer, with Disney’s mediocre MULAN and Warner Brothers’ embarrassingly bad QUEST FOR CAMELOT.

I think the best traditional summer movie of the year is MASK OF ZORRO, a hit at the time that’s not discussed much anymore. In the R-rated world the best and most influential was obviously BLADE, a surprise smash released in the supposed dumping ground of August. I also think LETHAL WEAPON 4 is a pretty impressive if messy and offensive action sequel. But that’s about it for those types of movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

A long road

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Friends, I need to write something very personal and sad right now. Some of it will include things about my family and my age that I usually try to be vague about, but fuck it. I’m really only writing this to get it out of my system, so if you didn’t come here to be bummed out or to read my fuckin diaries, that’s perfectly all right. I recommend instead this review from last year of STEELE JUSTICE starring Martin Kove.

But the thing is my mom died Monday morning. It wasn’t sudden, and yet, of course, it kinda seemed like it was. This has been a trying half decade for me. After my dad’s Alzheimer’s was severe enough that he had to be moved into a facility, but before he passed away, Mom tripped and hit her head. Just a normal clumsy accident, didn’t think much of it, but the raccoon eyes that developed the next day helped convince her she should get checked for a concussion. The damage from the fall wasn’t severe, but there was something else they noticed: a brain tumor. A huge one. The surgeon who would soon remove it described it as “the mother of all tumors” and “the size of a grapefruit.” (read the rest of this shit…)

I did another podcast: Zebras in America

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Hey everybody, it’s another chance to destroy my carefully cultivated aura of mysteriousness! The podcast Zebras in America invited me to be on their new episode, so I did, and it was fun. I’m afraid to listen to it, but I remember questions we addressed included what is Jean Claude Van Damme’s best movie, was Dave Bautista a good wrestler, is Bruce Willis phoning it in, should The Rock make better movies, who are my favorite rappers, and how do I know about Ram El Zee. I like these guys alot because they knew most of the DTV action movies I dropped but also are way more knowledgeable than me about art movies. From what I can gather, two of Marcus’s biggest interests are pro-wrestling and the films of Claire Denis, and obviously I respect that kind of range.

Note: when listing favorite West Coast rappers I forgot Digital Underground, Xzibit, and I think even Snoop.

ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 66 is on iTunes and stuff or you can check it out HERE.

P.S. I just now figured out that the title is a reference to FREDDY GOT FINGERED.

McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series in New York

Friday, March 30th, 2018

If you’re in New York, the Quad (I say as if I know what that is) is running a great film series from today through April 12th, called “Action Figures: Prime Cuts From McQueen, Marvin, Bronson, and Brown.” I know this because the good people at the Village Voice thought of me to do the write-up on it. I must be doing something right in life, huh?

They’re showing DEATH WISH, THE DIRTY DOZEN, EL CONDOR, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, THE GETAWAY, THE GREAT ESCAPE, HARD TIMES, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PRIME CUT, THE PROFESSIONALS, THE SAND PEBBLES, SLAUGHTER and THE STONE KILLER. Almost all of them are on 35mm. I watched a few of the ones I hadn’t seen before as preparation, so I’ll have reviews of those in the next week or two.

Unfortunately DEATH HUNT got cut from the lineup, so I had to lose a paragraph about Bronson getting into a bunch of shit to save a dog as an example of badass juxtaposition. But you can add that one in if you’re playing along at home.

Anyway, here is the Village Voice piece. Thanks!